I made this half-pony half-monkey monster to please you
But I get the feeling that you don’t like it
What’s with all the screaming?
You like monkeys, you like ponies
Maybe you don’t like monsters so much
Maybe I used too many monkeys
Isn’t it enough to know that I ruined a pony making a gift for you?
— Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton
The typical frugal solution to the holiday gift problem for the anti-consumerism attitude is to make your own gifts for your friends and family. I’ve considered doing this back when I was earning less than the cost of working. However, MP Dunleavey thinks making your own is one of the worst holiday gift ideas.
At some point, the Spirit of Frugality will pin you to the floor and tell you that the best way to save money during the holidays is to make all your gifts by hand. Resist this impulse! First of all, just because you don’t have money doesn’t mean you have talent.
Very true. But isn’t it the “thought” that counts?
Second, handmade gifts always cost more than you think, in both time and money. My truly talented sister-in-law, Deirdre, decided to make people jewelry one year. She quit when she found out how much it was costing her in supplies, never mind the all-nighters spent stringing tiny beads.
I’m not sure MP has completely convinced me that making your own gifts is always inappropriate. It can be a personal gesture in some circumstances. A friend of mine is great wih fabric and for my birthday she made me a set of pillowcases and pillows for my couch, using fabric matching my existing living room “decor.” I thought the gift was great, but she does have talent.
Have you ever given a handmade gift? Received one?
Published or updated December 17, 2006.